The world changed on September 11, but Austin Chick's second film, August, focuses on the moments right beforehand. Starring Josh Hartnett as a young start-up entrepreneur deluded by power trips, the movie moves along with a subtle pace, letting the natural drama emerge from a situation about to veer out of the control with the crash of the stock market. Chick's first feature, XX/XY, explored a three-way relationship; August, which opens in New York on Friday, explores the relationship between money and power during a key time in American history. Supporting performances from Rip Torn and David Bowie elevate the movie, while Howard A. Rodman's script keeps its conceits in check. Chick spoke with Cinematical about envisioning August's themes and working with his talented cast.

Cinematical: The film uses a very specific setting -- August 2001 -- immediately before 9/11. What interested you about that time?

Austin Chick: It captures a moment on the eve of change. If Howard (Rodman) and I were to move it to any other time, we would probably move it further back. The market really started crashing about eighteen months prior to when the movie is set. But I feel like there was still a certain amount of momentum in New York up until 9/11, this sense that things were going to turn around. The market had completely crashed, but there was still this crazy sense of decadence. All that really changed with 9/11.